EU Regulators Approve Microsoft’s $69B USD Activision Deal

The European Commission has approved Microsoft’s $68.7 billion USD acquisition of Activision Blizzard. Billed as the largest-ever deal in the gaming industry, Microsoft has faced multiple roadblocks in its buyout.

Xbox creator Microsoft announced plans to buy Actiivison – which is best known for creating Call of Duty and Diablo – in January 2022. While the deal was expected to close sometime in 2023, it was blocked by the U.S. regulator, the Federal Trade Commission in December. The UK's Competition and Markets Authority similarly ruled against the merger last month.

The EU said they would allow the deal to proceed on the condition that rival gaming companies are still able to access titles published by Activision. The argument touches on the U.S. and U.K.’s basis for blocking the acquisition, fearing that the merger would create a monopoly in gaming and impede competition, particularly in the cloud gaming market.

In order to gain approval from the European Commission, Microsoft agreed that for at least 10 years, gamers would still be able to play Activision titles on cloud gaming services developed by competitors.

“The European Commission has required Microsoft to license popular Activision Blizzard games automatically to competing cloud gaming services,” Microsoft president Brad Smith said. “This will apply globally and will empower millions of consumers worldwide to play these games on any device they choose.”

In other gaming news, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom creators are interested in a movie adaptation.